KAMPALA, UGANDA: Legislators on the Parliamentary Commission for Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have cited death threats relating to the ongoing probe into the irregular operations of Uganda Airlines.
Nakawa West MP Joel Ssenyonyi who heads COSASE says anonymous callers believed to be security officials are threatening his team on the commission with a view of shielding the ongoing probe into the mess at the national courier.
Another MP on the committee who preferred anonymity on the matter says all the outspoken MPs who have been questioning Bamuturaki’s appointment as the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Airlines have all received death threats from security officials linked to the Presidential guard dubbed SFC and a top cabinet Minister who says he is an uncle to Bamuturaki.
“We have been told to go slow on the probe or else bear with the consequences,” said one MP on the COSASE committee. “We have been warned and asked to be extra careful with how we are handling the matter,” adds another MP from the ruling NRM party.
However, Ssenyonyi says they won’t back off from holding corrupt public officials accountable for causing financial losses to the government adding that they have surrendered their safety and well-being in God’s hand for divine protection.
“We are not going to allow anyone to try intimidating us. There are people who call and say ‘go slow on this issue’, ‘please don’t dig deeper’ but all of those calls are hitting deaf ears. As long as am concerned, we will get to the bottom of this issue,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.
“Regarding threats, even when you have guards you can be gunned down. We have seen many incidents like that. But most importantly, we have got a job to do however difficult it may be,” Ssenyonyi further told media.
Preliminary findings of the committee have pinned down Bamuturaki, and other senior officers for lack of integrity and prerequisite qualifications to steer successful operations of the national flagship and cargo carrier.
The committee also discovered that the Board unlawfully endorsed the appointment of Ms Bamuturaki by President Yoweri Museveni in July 2022 after a competitive process for the selection of the ideal CEO through a consultancy firm, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, was irregularly terminated.
The sudden end to the search process cost Shs95 million and paved way for the ring-fencing of the position for Bamuturaki, yet she had not even applied for it. At least 40 candidates had applied for the position awaiting shortlisting and subsequent interviews. The board, therefore, had no way of ascertaining whether Bamuturaki was more competent than any or all of the 40 applicants, according to the committee.
The committee also discovered that prior to her elevation as CEO, Ms Bamuturaki, as the Commercial Director also doubling as the Contracts Manager, connived with then acting CEO, Mr Ephraim Kalyebara Bagenda, to exclusively solicit for Abbavater Group Limited to undertake public relations work for the Airlines without competitive bidding process.
Consequently, the duo influenced the award of the service contract amounting to 540,000 US dollars, about Shs2 billion, to the Abbavater Group which flouted the procedures of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) Act of 2003.
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